In Letter, Senators Highlight How Long Visa Wait Times Are Negatively Impacting International Travel & Tourism To The U.S
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chair of the Commerce Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion, joined Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in calling on the Biden Administration to address the ongoing delays in visitor visa processing for international travelers to the United States. Currently, the average wait time for an appointment at a U.S. consulate for a visitor visa is 25 weeks, but some waiting periods extend beyond 200 days. These delays are negatively affecting international tourism to cities like Las Vegas and Reno, in addition to businesses and universities that rely on temporary visas for their employees and students.
“As an important aspect of screening potential travelers to the United States, we write to inquire about steps that the Bureau of Consular Affairs is taking to address delays in visa processing,” wrote the Senators. “These delays impact industries, businesses, universities, and families across the United States. Businesses that rely on tourism suffer when would-be customers cannot get a visa appointment in a timely manner. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average overseas visitor spends approximately $3,700 when they visit the United States and stays an average of 17 nights.”
“In addition, processing delays make the United States a less attractive place for companies to do business. These delays have reportedly hindered companies from bringing key employees to the United States,” the senators continued. “Unfortunately, delays in consular processing continue to present roadblocks for both the businesses and communities that rely on our legal immigration system and temporary guest worker, student, and tourist visas to drive our economy and culture.”
The full letter can be found here.
Senator Rosen has been a leader in fighting to strengthen the travel and tourism industry, which directly employs nearly 350,000 Nevadans. Her bipartisan Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act, which was signed into law last year, will strengthen the U.S. travel and tourism industry by creating the first-ever position of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism tasked with developing and coordinating a national tourism strategy across the federal government. Senator Rosen was also part of a bipartisan group that wrote and helped pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, where she specifically co-wrote the section of the bill that created programs that have since provided more than $58 million in funding to Nevada airports.